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#harmedmetoo – exposing the harms caused by the psychosomatic model.


Senior Member
In response to Maya Dusenbery’s excellent book - ‘Doing Harm’ - which includes quite a bit about ME/CFS, the first reviewer on Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/custome...ef=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0062470809 has proposed using the hashtag -


- to expose the extent of the suffering of those whose symptoms have been dismissed as a result of the psychosomatic / ‘all in your mind’ / somatization dogma and agenda.

Sounds good to me.

There must be millions of people with all sorts of conditions who have been ignored, dismissed, misdiagnosed and diagnosed too late, because of the BPS model / somatization cult. (Like Dr Lisa Steen - http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2016/08/25/lisa-steen-the-wilderness-of-the-medically-unexplained/ for example). With the MUS agenda expanding (particularly in the UK) to encompass so many conditions in order to exclude people from biomedical healthcare, the sooner that we engage with other harmed patients and patient groups the better. I think this hashtag could really catch on.


Senior Member
I think #harmedmetoo it is an excellent idea. This problem is huge. An article in Bustle called, "Women Feel Dismissed By Their Doctors — And It's A Huge Problem," reports:
A new survey of 1,091 Europeans and Americans from Zavamed, the online prescription service, found that people feel like they're not getting what they need from their doctors. The survey found that 50 percent of respondents have felt dismissed by their doctor about general health concerns and 14 percent have felt dismissed about their sexual health concerns, specifically. Previous research from the University of Maryland showed that doctors take women's pain less seriously, and, as this new survey shows, women are more likely to have their concerns dismissed or to be treated like they don't know what they're talking about.

I think we need to draw as much attention as we can to this problem and #harmedmetoo sounds like a good way to do this. More and more women keep coming forward saying this has happened to them. Even I am astounded by how many people are coming forward saying they have had the experience of a doctor dismissing them, and I've done a lot of research into this. Check out the number and scope of women relating their experience with this in the comments for this Youtube video:

I will share one interesting tidbit I found by chance in a book I was reading by Susan Falludi . The book is about feminism's struggles in the 1980's' and is called, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. I didn't expect to find anything relevant to us in the book- but I did. I'll share a quote from the chapter where she tells of psychologist's participation in resisting women's progress. This is from chapter 12 in the book called, "It's all in your mind: Popular Psychology Joins the Backlash:"

“The psychiatric diagnosis of masochism first formulated in the late Victorian era described people who derive people who derive sexual pleasure from pain. It soon, however, degenerated into a sort of all-purpose definition of the female psyche; so many women got abused because so many women preferred it that way-- an early statement, in some respects, of Robin Norwood’s thesis.

But masochism as a therapeutic diagnosis event all fell into disrepute. As psychoanalyst Karen Horney first pointed in the 1920s. So-called “natural” female masochism was more likely the unnatural product of a sexist social system of rewards and punishments that induced many women to adopt submissive behavior. Horney's Freudian male colleagues didn’t appreciate her observations-- they forced her out of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. But eventually most mental health professionals came around to her point of view, and by the ‘70s, the notion of an innate feminism masochism seemed a quaint relic, more a jocular buzzword than a defensible psychoanalytic theory.

Then in 1985, some psychoanalysts at the American Psychiatric Association decided it was time for masochism to make a come-back, as a “new” disorder in the professional Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, the bible of American psychiatry. This was no arcane matter of classification. The DSM is the standard reference book that mental health professionals rely on to diagnose patients, researchers use to study mental illness, private and public insurers require to determine compensation for therapy, and courts turn to when ruling on insanity pleas and child custody decisions.

That year, Dr. Teresa Bernardez was chairing the APA’s Committee on Women, which is supposed to be consulted on all proposed new DSM diagnoses affecting women. But the APA panel drafting these new diagnoses never bothered to inform her or anyone else on the committee. By happenstance, as the APA was nearing a vote on the diagnosis, Bernardez heard about it from a friend across the country. She investigated further-- and discovered that the APA panel planned to add not one, but three diagnoses affecting women, all in troubling ways.

“Premenstrual dysphoric disorder,” was another one, a diagnosis that revived the long-discredited notion that PMS was a mental illness rather than a simple matter of endocrinology. “Paraphiliac rapism disorder,” was the third, a diagnosis that the APA panel intended to apply to any man (or, theoretically, woman) who reported fantasies about rape or sexual molestation and “repeatedly acts on these urges or is markedly distressed by them.”

If approved, this vague definition could prove a handy insanity plea for any rapist or child molester with an enterprising lawyer. This was obvious enough to the US. Attorney General’s office, which once alerted, even issued an objection.

In some ways, the “masochistic personality disorder” may have been the most regressive, and peculiar, of the three proposed diagnoses. The APA panel had come up with nine characteristics to define masochism-- and they were strangely broad, indeed.

They included anyone who “rejects help, gifts, or favors so as not to be a burden on others,” or “worries excessively” about troubling others or “responds to success or positive events by feeling undeserving.” Included in this list was even the undergraduate who puts aside her homework to help fellow students write their papers. None of the nine characteristics of this new “masochism,” mentioned taking pleasure in pain.

Instead, they described only the self-sacrificing and self-denigrating sort of behavior that is supposed to typify the ideal femininity. The APA panel had neatly summed up female socialization-- and stamped it a private psychiatric malfunction. In fact, the APA panel went even further, dubbing this problem not only a pathological imbalance, but a “personality disorder,” a category of mental illness that psychiatry defines as least related to social conditions and most rooted in the underlying structure of the individual’s personality from early childhood-- and so, most difficult to change. Worst of all, the diagnosis threatened to invite a return to treating battered women as masochists who court domestic violence.

The APA panel included these traits in its definition of the new masochists: “choosing” people who “disappoint” them or “mistreat” them and remaining “in relationships in which others exploit, abuse or take advantage.” The panel illustrated these traits with an example of a masochist who sounded more like the male perspective on the backlash than a description of mental illness: a spouse who criticizes a mate, thus provoking an angry counterattack.”

Once again under the backlash, attention was deflected from the causes of the “counterattack”: male anger over women's increasing demands and male fear over women’s growing autonomy. Once again, each female target of the backlash’s fury was redefined as her, own and only, assailant.

And while the pop psychology books that told women to blame themselves would come and go in bookstores during the ‘80s, the DSM was a permanent fixture. If the APA inscribed this definition of masochism on its pages, it would institutionalize the psychological message of the backlash for years to come.”

NPR did a piece on the subject of premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
"Should Severe Premenstrual Symptoms Be A Mental Disorder?"
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So when I think “why did I psychologically will myself to get ill?” (which is the logical next thought when I’m asked to do CBT to correct the illness), the answer is, of course, that I have “Masochistic Personality Disorder”, right? And that absolves the Pharmacy/Medicine industry of any responsibility for helping to treat me of a physiological illness! That’s very convenient, for them.


Senior Member
Topic: Sexism in Psychiatry
Here are some more articles which are important to be aware of, in respect to #harmedmetoo. In my previous post, I showed how psychologists have taken normal female problems such as Premenstrual Syndrome, and recast these biological female problems as psychiatric in nature. I read an article by Susan Falludi, and noticed she cited writer, Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D. as the source of her information about "Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

Curious to learn more, I googled Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D and found she has written many articles about new psychiatric labels given to women which would . Caplan seems to be the expert in this subject. Read her articles and be amazed. It's far worse than I'd realized:

https://books.google.com/books?id=6...ntal Alienation Syndrome Paula Caplan&f=false



Writers now attribute unconsious or implicit bias in doctors as to why women are neglected by doctors. However, if you read Dusenbery's book, you know these absurd ideas about real illness being caused by women's "hysterical" tendencies, are taught to medical students in textbooks. Maya Dusenbery said a medical textbook taught as recently as the 1980s, that interstitial cystitis was "women pushing their unconscious hatred into their bladder."

John Oliver on HBO, revealed that a medical textbook taught that "Native American patients were likely to pick a sacred number on the pain scale," and that African Americans believed suffering was inevitable, and that Latinos believed God wanted them to suffer.
These are both sexist and racist ideas put in medical textbooks.

All of this brings to mind a term to describe how the Soviet Union manipulated psychology/psychiatry to lock up dissidents in lunatic asylums. This term is political psychiatry. It seems clearer and clearer to me that women's progress has been historically thwarted through a different sort of political psychiatry.
I think because these absurd ideas are taught to unquestioning medical students, these students then adopt the absurd idea as fact.

If many or most people are believe authority without question, then you create a healthcare system riddled with doctors who would gladly let the sick die. I notice how what is happening to ME patients parallels to both the Milgram Experiment and the Holocaust, in the sense that people do terrible things when they blindly defer to the orders of an authority.
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